Creature Features

by Noel Sloboda. Main Street Rag, 2022.

Review by Alexander J. Moss

Noel Sloboda’s Creature Features takes a giant leap, with its “Ghoulish” style and interpretation of the human experience, and hits the mark, even if this human experience it describes is shown through the persona of many classic ghouls and monsters. This is a wonderful collection of macabre and classic spooks that inspire the reader to truly examine human interactions and thought processes, while also being very creative in its approach to it. 

One of these quotes struck while reading: “I feel more lost than ever before.”  Using the book’s contemplative nature to its advantage to make us, the reader, really ponder some of the profound out of the box thinking of what makes us human. Despite all the descriptive coloring on the monsters and fantasy creatures they still feel distinctly human, demonstrating our faults and our achievements in our interactions with others and even our interactions with ourselves.

Readers well-versed in history and philosophy may know the story of the daughter of Rene Descartes, Francine. In the poem, “The Second Death Of Francine Descartes”  Sloboda digs into the muddy waters between tall tales and reality, discussing the supposed robot zombie that was Rene’s daughter come alive again, even after death from scarlet fever. Bone chilling was this poem, showing the point of view of the re-animated daughter. It delves into the thoughts of a child whose descriptions dwell on her father’s simultaneous love and his lack of love. It walks through the mind of a child, who wonders the simple pleasantries of an existence where she can dream of life.

The Mummy, a classic monster of myth and pop-culture, also makes an appearance, though in a less frightening way. Channeling the anger of his early awakening through more creative channels in the form of art therapy is, on the surface, a fun and perhaps goofy notion. In reality though, the words that paint these lines are full of a great exposition into a deeper side of the mummy, “I yearn to make sense of what was and will be life in acrylic…” and, “I have fashioned a new tribe: a series of selves on canvas.” The inner turmoil and thought drawn from these lines is spectacular. 

Though the one thing that I think readers should beware is that some prior knowledge of some of these ghoulish figures and wild tales is very helpful in understanding the deep emotions that glide in and out of each stanza. Luckily though they are not necessary if one wishes to read, as the lessons that Sloboda shows to readers are universal no matter your knowledge of these prolific monsters.

The believable self-dialogue in these poems about one’s self and the search for who one is is an amazingly well-crafted piece of this spooky puzzle. Anyone who has ever truly dwelled further than the surface of their own mind to analyze every nook and cranny of their own little personal dungeon will be inspired by the wit and depth of the conversations in these poems.

Alexander J. Moss

Alexander J. Moss is a senior majoring in elementary education and minoring in creative writing. He has a love of almost all art forms, though music is dear to his heart, due to being a musician for the last 9 years, but he loves writing and reading as a close second. Making new music or poems is a hobby, experimenting with his own emotions and views to make pieces he is proud off, as well as tinkering with all sorts of electronics/technology. Though his favorite passion is just being with friends, family, and loved ones. His plan is to pursue a career in the education system or into more creative fields!

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: